Cannes, Day 2: Tim & Eric, Katy Perry and major walkouts

Thursday May 17th 2012

Watching films at Cannes’s 2300-seat Grand Théâtre Lumière can be a surreal experience, especially when the film in question is unlikely to play anywhere bigger than the Curzon Soho back in the UK. Each morning at 8:30am, the day’s highest profile competition film is screened for the world’s press. Today saw the unveiling of Rust and Bone, the new one from A Prophet director Jacques Audiard.

Starring Marion Cotillard and Matthias Schoenaerts, and partially shot in Cannes itself, the film tells the story of a recently-unemployed street fighter (!) who forms a friendship with a killer whale trainer (!!) after she suffers a horrific accident at a marine park display gone awry (!!!). It’s about as wild as it sounds, if strangely unaffecting, and features some of Audiard’s most bizarre musical cues yet — how many other directors would dare include Katy Perry’s ‘Firework’, The B-52’s ‘Love Shack’ AND John Cooper Clark’s ‘Chickentown’ on the soundtrack to their sombre French melodrama?

Audiard’s film proved a hit with the critics, and Marion Cotillard emerged as a firm favourite for the Best Actress award — with any luck those pesky topless shots should disappear from the film’s first page of Google results any day now.

Of course, even the most outlandish moments in Rust and Bone would seem hopelessly pedestrian alongside Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie, the film debut of anti-comedians Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim. The market screening I attended started out with an audience of about fifteen people — by the time the credits rolled, there were three of us. Hitting the mark just as often as it misses it entirely, B$M is an unapologetically fan-only experience that might have found more success as a series of YouTube clips than a fully-fledged 94-minute movie. Still, I doubt I’ll see any other movies this week co-starring a Johnny Depp impersonator.

Safely back at the flat, I’m now considering making one of these ‘croissants précuits’ before heading out for tonight’s Competition entry: Austrian sex tourism drama Paradise: Love, the first part in a proposed trilogy from Import/Export director Ulrich Seidl. The weekend looms, so here’s hoping this particular Austrian sex tourism drama is fully equipped to get the party started.